The History of the Howe - Fordoun and Auchenblae

These two villages are linked in so many ways that it can become quite confusing at times; together with their immediate districts they form the Parish of Fordoun, with the Parish Kirk actually being sited at Auchenblae!

Back in the annals of time Fordoun, or Fothirdun as it was historically known, was probably the most important area in the Howe o' the Mearns. The seat of Kings had its Kirkton at Auchenblae, which was then just a mile from the original settlement.

The name Fothirdun could possibly mean "the lower place", but there has been some debate about hte fact. Auchenblae, on the other hand, is quite simply "The field of flowers", auchen meaning field and blae referring to flowers or blossoms. This is quite a fitting name, as during the last Century the area was known for its flax growing. It also had a flax spinning mill which, along with another at Blackiemuir, Laurencekirk, kept the weavers of the Howe well supplied with their raw materials.

Auchenblae is a quaint village whose main geographical feature is the steep incline of its situation, whch could well substantiate the claim that Fordoun is "the lower place". The number of shops on the Blae's slopes has diminished over the years, but there is still a butcher's shop, a general store and a Post Office. There is also a Doctor's Surgery and two hotels on the main street. In addition, Auchenblae can boast a very busy and popular golf course on its Northerly side, and leading off the main street is The Den, which has long been the haunt of sportsmen and women who can avail themselves of its tennis and bowling facilities, or simply walk its shady paths.

In 1991 Auchenblae Primary School celebrated its centenary in a fitting style, with former members coming frae a' the airts to reminisce and help to mark the occasion.

Like the majority of the Mearns villages, both Auchenblae and Fordoun appear to have changed little over the years, although both Council and private houses have been added to the original layouts. Fordoun has always been a rather secluded place, even before it was bypassed by the dual carriageway, as few of its buildings bordered the main road. At one time it had a railway station and quite a few shops, but now alas no more, although it does still have a Post Office and shop, an hotel, and a popular roadside cafe.

In its contrary fashion, the primary school which serves the area is known as Redmyre Primary School. In the 1960s the old school was replaced by a spanking new building, still sited at Redmyre. The coming of the dual carriageway has meant that it is now completely separated from the village, and is reached by an underpass beneath the main road. The old and new schools are also separated by the road that leads to Arbuthnott, but before we travel that path we will take the high-road from Auchenblae to Glenbervie and Drumlithie via the Knockhill.

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